Santorum's bad day

January 20, 2012

Yesterday should have been Rick Santorum’s day. 

The Iowa Republican Party, though desperate to make his rival, Mitt Romney, the official certified winner of its caucuses had to cough up that, in fact, it looked like Santorum had won.

“One thing that is irrefutable is that is that in these 1,776 certified precincts, the Republican party was able to certify and report Rick Santorum was the winner of the certified precinct vote total by 34 votes,” Matt Strawn, the state GOP chair, told the Des Moines Register. There are eight precincts outstanding with missing paperwork.

In his talks, Strawn always makes it seem as if the eight outstanding and uncertifiable precincts could have tipped it back to Romney, but in fact, if those votes were counted, Santorum would have led by 69 votes. 

Really, huge news for Santorum.

But what happened? Rick Perry, who should have listened to his gut out of Iowa, decided to drop out of the South Carolina primary yesterday and threw his endorsement to Newt Gingrich

Which is kinda bigger news.

And then Gingrich’s ex second wife comes out and says he wanted an open marriage

Wow!

Okay, maybe not wow exactly. We already kinda knew that.

But the whole combo of events ended up making Santorum’s victory in Iowa kinda ... a footnote. And his wife’s own weird sexual past?  Juicy but pretty much irrelevant. (This is also a bit of a trap for Santorum regarding Gingrich. If his wife can mature and repent, then obviously so can Newt.)

All this means two things.

  1. The South Carolina primary, where Gingrich keeps rising (darkly, always darkly), and may actually pull off a victory, or at least come close enough so that -- with the real results in Iowa -- Romney’s winning streak comes down to a single, tiny homogeneous neighboring state, makes “inevitability” a little far fetched. Santorum may well come in last here, though he’ll insist on going on.
  2. And two, our Iowa predictions winners, Alejandro Riera and Alison Keating, will hold on to their Iowa spirits from Cedar Ridge, but Robert Gold, who correctly -- and insistently -- kept calling Iowa for Santorum, gets a drink on me.

Just tell me when and where, Robert.